Winter is here bringing with it the end of yet another year. For truck drivers though, winter is no different than any other season. It is the same endless driving through city and country roads no matter the season. The only thing that changes is the way you drive because winter brings rain and snow resulting in wet and slippery roads throughout the country. You need to be extra careful and exercise patience as the odds are stacked against you when it comes to driving in winter. Accidents are not uncommon, with many truckers trying their best to meet delivery deadlines. In such perilous conditions, there are certain protocols to follow, including changing your driving style. Let’s talk about what else you can do as a trucker to improve your chances of meeting deadlines this winter.
Focus on the Road
If the road is slippery, you need to keep both your hands on the steering wheel and focus on the road. A slight shift in focus, and the next thing you know, your truck has lost control. You mustn’t be distracted by anything, be it music, the radio, or anything else.
Yes, you need to meet your delivery deadlines, and for that, you need to drive at a certain pace. But you know what they say, it is better to arrive late than never. Therefore, reduce your truck’s speed, judge the road’s condition, and increase speed only when it is safe to do so. If you drive slow, you can stop earlier and avoid getting into any accidents.
Avoid Sudden Maneuvers
To protect yourself and others on the road, you should drive a bit smoothly. That means you should accelerate slowly, brake easy, and turn with caution. Do nothing that would decrease your truck’s traction and cause you to lose control of your vehicle. It is good practice to keep more than a safe distance between you and the other vehicle in front of you so you can react at the right time.
Your truck’s headlights, taillights, and fog lights are your dearest friend in harsh weather conditions. Poor lighting is a recipe for disaster, therefore before you set out on the road, inspect your truck’s lights. The important thing here is that while you should be able to see the cars in front of you, others should also be able to spot you from behind.
Signal in Advance
Use your signals way before you intend to turn. As a general rule, wait for four to five blinks before gradually turning a corner or changing lanes. If you are driving slower than the traffic, we suggest you switch on your four-way hazard lights to let everyone else know that you are slow allowing them to make adjustments.
Watch the Other Truckers
Veteran truckers are on the road for a reason. They have been trucking for so long that their experience counts for everything. As a beginner, you should learn from them. When big-rigs slow down or pull over, you should too. There is no reason to keep on going if everyone else has decided to call it a day.
Check the News and Weather Apps
It is better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to trucking. Therefore, before setting out on your journey, watch the news, check some weather apps, or talk to other truckers who have taken the route you are intending to take. Leave the safety of wherever you are only when you are sure that it is safe to drive.
Try for Traction
When it comes to driving on slippery roads, traction is everything. You need good tires, expert driving skills, and some good luck to make it through winter. The only thing you have under your control among the three is tires. Buy snow tires with a deep tread and with several grooves to get good traction
If it were up to us, we would recommend not driving in winter, but that’s for you to decide. Winter driving is dangerous, and no matter what you do, there is always a very high risk of getting into a sticky situation. However, if you do decide to weather through the storm in your truck, then avoid high-risk highways.
You want to avoid the state of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New York during the winter, and all the highways going around and through these states. Let’s not even talk about Alaska, as that is one place that is always a high risk regardless of the season.
With that said, we wish you a safe winter driving season! What are your winter driving tips? Share them in the comments below.
By Aldous Aldwin